Dror Davidoff has a diverse background in terms of where he has lived, where he went to school, and where he has worked. He considers all of it a tremendous learning experience that now serves him well as co-founder and CEO of container security company Aqua Security.
Davidoff was born in Israel and earned his bachelor’s degree there before moving to New York to attain his MBA. After graduation, he took a job with a company in Boston that provided his entry into the IT industry. Soon after that he joined the identity management company Netegrity, which was eventually acquired by CA in 2004. He spent some time in the security division at CA before joining the database security startup Sentrigo, which then was acquired by McAfee. Of course, McAfee itself was later acquired by Intel Security.
“I was fortunate enough to get into the IT world early in my career and experience a lot,” says Davidoff. “I worked my way through very different companies in the cybersecurity space. Also, working with young startup companies and then ending up working for the largest vendors out there, like CA, McAfee, and then Intel Security was valuable experience.”
Throughout his career, Davidoff typically worked on the business side of the house, but he was always attracted to the technology offered by the various companies. “I never wrote any code myself, but I really love technology,” he says. “I have a good understanding of technology. I like the challenge of translating very complex technology ideas into messages that business people can relate to. I always want to bridge the gap between business needs and the technology that’s out there to address and solve the problems.”
“I had many stops in my career, which for me was a great thing because I got to learn a lot. That was the best education anyone could get in the technology world. Just the diversity of doing many things, many different technologies, working for different companies,” says Davidoff. “I spent many years in the U.S. and three years in Europe. Now I’m back in Israel. Working in different environments, in different cultures, gave me the benefit of everything that the high-tech world has to offer to any professional. My formal education was a very small piece of this. It’s much more about the practical experience, the diversity. When you’re in technology, every day you learn something new, and I find it to be fascinating. It’s an on-going learning experience.”
Along with co-founder and CTO Amir Jerbi, who he met during his CA days, Davidoff started Aqua Security in 2015. “The personal match with Amir was great right from the very beginning. We both felt we complement each other perfectly. It was clear we also share the same vision of company culture we want to build – this is not a small thing. In fact, I feel that this is a big part of the success we have so far.”
Like Davidoff, Amir Jerbi spent many years in the IT Security space. “He spent his life on the technology side, I did my career on the business side, but we had one thing in common,” says Davidoff. “In our experience, IT security was always very complex and difficult to deploy. IT security was always an afterthought. The security practitioner was never really part of the business process. Developers always created the application to meet a business need, and when it was done, then they thought about security.”
“When Amir and I identified the container world, we saw a security gap. We asked, how can we bridge the gap? What are the things that we can bring to the table?” says Davidoff. “We really had a ‘eureka’ moment then because the nature of containers allows us to implement a very high level of automation. The new way applications are being developed – the whole DevOps world – is very automated. Everything is a fast-track pipeline that allows people to write code one day and put it into production the following day. We realized that we can also leverage that process for security and really change the way security is being done.”
Aqua’s vision was to create a security solution that would become very automated, would require very low overhead and maintenance, and very little manual work. “For us, that was something really exciting to do, very different from what we knew from years and years of doing enterprise IT security products,” according to Davidoff. “We saw a real game changer, and two years in, I can now confidently say that it does that. The way containers work, the way we design our solution—it’s all very automated. We provide simple training to our customers and they can go ahead and deploy our product in a matter of days. For us, that’s a revolution.”
Today Davidoff lives with his wife and children in Israel. They lived in Jerusalem for a few years but recently moved back to Tel Aviv. He spends a lot of his time on the road, mainly in the U.S. “I have three kids, so it’s not easy with all the travel,” says Davidoff. “Luckily my family is all very supportive.” When home in Tel Aviv, Davidoff likes to start his day with a swim in the Mediterranean Sea. “Wintertime is difficult, but the rest of the year, the Mediterranean is amazing. The water is not cold and it’s very calm. Swimming in the morning is highly recommended,” he says.